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Directed by Emilio “El Indio” Fernandez
Mexico, Drama, Film Noir, Cabaret Musical, 1951
35mm, 90 minutes, Black and White
In Spanish with English subtitles

Starring:  Ninon Sevilla,Tito Junco, Rodolfo Acosta, Rita Montaner, Ismael Pérez, Margarita Ceballos, Pedro Vargas, Toña La Negra

Musical performances by: Ninon Sevilla, Pedro Vargas, Perez Prado and his Orchestra and Rita Montaner

Outdoor Screening
Thursday, September 20th, 2007 at 7:30PM (short films will open, feature film starts at 8:00PM)
Mexican-American Cultural Center
600 River Street, Austin, TX 78701-4218
Free admission. Mature audiences.

Some seating will be available. Feel free to bring your favorite camping chair or blanket. And dancers, bring your dancing shoes for musical interludes that include rumbas, rancheras and swing played by the premiere Latin American bands of the 1950's.


Cabaret dancer Violeta (Ninon Sevilla) rescues an abandoned baby from a garbage can in Mexico City's red-light district. She decides to raise the child, a decision that puts her at odds with cabaret owner Rodolfo (Rodolfo Acosta.) Santiago (Tito Junco), a rival club owner, falls in love with Violeta and offers to help. Rumberas, zoot suits and dizzying dance sequences.


Cine Las Americas invites you to experience a time in film history when the “men were men” but the women ruled the cabarets. We hope you join us for this rare opportunity to view VICTIMAS DEL PECADO, a spectacular masterpiece directed by Emilio “El Indio” Fernandez. This outdoor screening will take place at Austin’s Mexican-American Cultural Center’s Zocalo, on the bank of Lady Bird Lake, near downtown Austin, Texas.

Sometimes when we think of old movies  we think of a slower pace than what we experience by today s standards. Not so with the films in this series  the pace is quick as lightning, and the melodrama will keep you at the edge of your seat. The next film in this Cine Las Americas program is VICTIMAS DEL PECADO. The story moves at the pace of its passionate score while the camera captures the drama flaring up in and around the cabarets.

So, what makes VICTIMAS DEL PECADO even more outrageous than the first film in this series, AVENTURERA? We think it’s the “Baby Factor” – in VICTIMAS DEL PECADO cabaret dancer Violeta (Ninon Sevilla) rescues an abandoned baby from a garbage can in Mexico City’s red-light district, sacrificing her own future as a big star by doing so. Our heroine then goes through heart wrenching lengths to provide her adopted child with a better life.

Along Violeta’s journey she must do battle with pimp and club owner Rodolfo (Rodolfo Acosta) who manages to be menacing while sumptuously dressed in fine zoot suit attire. Acosta is a villain obsessed with his own good looks, takes every opportunity to dazzle us with his dancing and still finds the time to bring tragedy to our heroine just when she thinks she’s escaped harm.

Rival club owner Santiago (Tito Junco) falls in love with Violeta and offers to help her and her child. Santiago is so smooth that when he walks down the street he is sometimes followed by singing mariachis.

Much of the film takes place at the fictional Cabaret Chango and La Maquina Loca nightclubs. The musical/dance interludes are nothing less than a revelation; the fights scenes are outrageous; both will take your breath away.

Cinematographer Figueroa draws us in with stunning portraits, inspired lighting, and profound light and shadow contrasts.

Some of the greatest musical acts of the 1950’s appear in the film including legendary singer Pedro Vargas who makes an appearance as does Damasco Perez Prado and His Orchestra who reigned all over Latin America as the kings of mambo. Cuban singer Rita Montaner also plays herself and is gloriously in her element as Violeta’s godmother. Her acting and especially her singing, immortalized by this film, is a real treasure.

I would like to acknowledge that for many of us, our neighbors, friends and families don’t discuss these melodramas as masterpieces or social messages. Often they are completely involved with the story, as if the characters were living, breathing real people and therefore we should all be rooting for them to prevail. I think we should follow suit.


Before emigrating to Mexico in 1946 where she launched her film career, Cuban Rumbera Ninon Sevilla was a dancer in Havana nightclubs. Gorgeous and effusive, she lit up the screen and stage for some of Mexico’s greatest directors and composers. Sevilla choreographed her own numbers and incorporated santeria rites in her performances. With the decline of Mexican cinema in the 1950s, Sevilla retired, but she made a successful comeback in the 1980s becoming a telenovela star.


Emilio Fernandez, a revolutionary, movie director, producer and actor was born on March 26, 1904 in the state of Coahuila, Mexico. In 1923 he quit school to participate in the failed Huertista rebellion. He sought exile from a prison sentence and escaped to Los Angeles where he found work as an extra in Hollywood films. Huertista Revolutionaries were eventually pardoned and Fernández returned to Mexico in 1934 and began working in the Mexican movie industry as a screenwriter and actor. Fernández directed 43 pictures from 1942 to 1979 and was the credited screenwriter on 40 pictures. Fernandez worked in the spirit of “Mexicanidad”, always seeking to create a Mexican cinema that “Mexicanized” Mexicans.

Actress Dolores del Rio introduced Fernández to her husband Artistic Director, Cedric Gibbons, and suggested that he would make a good model for a project he was working on in 1929, designing an award for the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts & Sciences. And so it was that Emilio Fernández posed for the statuette known today as the Oscar.


Pirates (1986) actor|
Under the Volcano (1984) actor
Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia (1974) actor
Billy the Kid (1973) actor
The Wild Bunch (1969) actor
The War Wagon (1967) actor
The Night of the Iguana (1964) actor
The Magnificent Seven (1960) director "de desplazamiento"
The Unforgiven (1960) actor (he also served as second unit director)
Víctimas del  pecado (1950) director and writer
La malquerida  (1949) director and writer (adaptation)
Salón  México (1948) director and writer
Maclovia (1948) director and writer (adaptacion)
La Perla (The Pearl) (1947) based on a novella by John Steinbeck
Río Escondido  (1947) director and writer (argumento)
The Fugitive (1947) actor (he also served as associate producer)
Enamorada (1946) director and writer
Las abandonadas  (1944) director and writer
María Candelaria  (Xochimilco) (1943) director and writer
Flor silvestre (1943) director, actor and writer (adaptation)
Con los Dorados de Villa (1939) writer
Cielito lindo (1936) assistant director and writer (adaptation)


Gabriel Figueroa collaborated on 25-films with Emilio Fernandez including MARIA CANDELARIA, FLOR SILVESTRE and ENAMORADA. He is considered the greatest Cinematographer of Mexico’s Golden Age. In his lifetime Figueroa worked on 200 movies. Known as a "painter in light," some have called him the "fourth muralist", after the three great ones, Diego Rivera, David Siqueiros, and Jose Clemente Orozco. Figueroa was friends with all three, and the cinematographer and painters borrowed compositions and themes from each other’s work. Siqueiros referred to Figueroa's cinematography as "murals that travel."

Jacqueline Rush Rivera, Director of Programming


Filmmakers:  Emilio Fernández - Director / Writer, Mauricio Magdaleno - Writer, Guillermo Calderón - Producer, Pedro A. Calderón - Producer, César Pérez Luis - Producer, Gabriel Figueroa - Cinematographer, Antonio Díaz Conde - Composer, Manuel Fontanals - Production Designer, Gloria Schoemann - Editor